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HS2 Construction Begins Amidst Protests

Construction of the new North-South high-speed train line, known as HS2, began today.

The line is due to run between major English cities such as London, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham. The stated aim of the project is to help bridge the North-South divide, allowing people to commute from Northern cities to London and rebalance the economy.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “HS2’s transformational potential goes even further.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson signing the EU Withdrawal Agreement – Image ©No10 Crown Copyright Picture by Andrew Parsons / No10 Downing Street – Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

“By creating hundreds of apprenticeships and thousands of skilled jobs, HS2 will fire up economic growth and help to rebalance opportunity across this country for years to come.”

It has been said that HS2 would create 22,000 new jobs, although critics argue that it would also cost jobs.

The project has been the subject of criticism from all sides of the aisle for issues such as its cost and environmental impacts.

It was reported in the 2015 Budget that the total cost of HS2 would be just under £56 billion.

Brexit Party Leader Nigel Farage – Gage Skidmore – Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Environmentalist group Extinction Rebellion held rallies in central London throughout the week in protest against the HS2 project. On the other hand, the Brexit Party included the cancelling of HS2 in their 2019 General Election manifesto, citing the cost of the project.

Extinction Rebellion said in a statement on their website: [1]“Over 100 ancient woodlands and protected wetlands are about to be bulldozed and the aquifer that feeds 22% of London’s drinking water to be penetrated, polluted and five out of nine lakes drained. Countless rare and protected species are found in these wetlands but whose presence is being ignored or hidden by HS2. This land is our Amazon and we must protect it. HS2 will leave a gaping scar across our country. HS2 IS OUR UK FRONT LINE of the Climate and Ecological Crisis.”

Nigel Farage, the Leader of the Brexit Party, responded to the start of the HS2 project by tweeting the following:

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